Page:Theory and Practice of Handwriting.djvu/26

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withstanding, except a few inarticulate and individual grumblings, little in the way of protest is made against what every one admits to be a public and national disgrace. Our prevailing handwriting may claim the ambiguous and questionable merit that it can be made to mean anything but it is no less accurately described as Scribble of every conceivable Size, Shape and Slope.

The Press, the Commercial World, and Official Circles are happily beginning to realise the position, as evidence the following extract from the City Press (25th Nov. 1891).

“How is it that of late years the art of caligraphy has declined amongst us to an almost alarming extent? Not so long since everyone–save geniuses, who were allowed a free hand–could write clearly and legibly, the reading of correspondence being as a consequence a far more agreeable occupation than it unfortunately is at the present moment. Now it is quite an exception to come across a letter that even with a certain amount of leniency can be said to be written at all legibly or distinctly. Indeed, by far the greater part of a busy man’s correspondence consists of hurried scrawls which have to be actually spelled out word by word. Commercial houses are already beginning to experience a difficulty in finding, as clerks, young fellows who can write a decent hand. Mr. Tritton, who may be taken as a typical man of commerce, told a Mansion House meeting the other day that fully 90 per cent. of the young men who applied to him for situations wrote with a slovenliness that was altogether inexcusable. The public, it seems to me, have the remedy in their own hands to a certain extent. If they follow the advice of Sir James Whitehead, and put on one side for future consideration all letters which cannot be deciphered except with difficulty, their correspondents, without a doubt, will soon realise that in writing illegibly they only injure themselves. The result will naturally be that they will cease to pen the wretched scrawls that in the past they have dignified with the name of correspondence. The present carelessness in the matter of handwriting is in a great measure the fault of our schoolmasters, who, I have reason to believe, no longer consider caligraphy as one of the